IoT for Agriculture: Smart Farming Solutions

Improve Decision Making and Increase Productivity

Population growth, limited resources, workforce impact from pandemics, financial upheaval and unpredictable climate conditions pressure agricultural businesses like never before. Today’s farmers must contend with increasing water shortages or floods, shrinking land availability, and fluctuating costs as they work to feed the world. Given that the world’s population is expected to multiply rapidly through 2050, farmers must increase food production by 70% if everyone is going to be fed.1

The increasing adoption of smart farming techniques — leveraging sensors, smart gateways and monitoring systems to collect and analyze information — helps inform decisions that drive productivity improvements, even under adverse circumstances. Agriculture IoT application developers and system integrators have a unique opportunity to build connected agricultural solutions that can lead to improved yields, reduced costs and a well-fed world.

Precision farming technology helps farmers make more informed decisions while opening the door to greater automation of agricultural labor. Farms are living and breathing business environments where even the smallest changes can significantly impact the business’s health and productivity.

Unmatched portfolio of 5G IoT modules for smart agriculture solutions

The Role of IoT Devices in the Next Generation of Agriculture

Innovative uses of IoT applications in agriculture are driving opportunities for forward-thinking operations to increase yields while improving food safety and delivery. From crop and livestock monitoring to water management, farm-to-fork regulatory compliance and more, sensors, gateways and modules work together to provide accurate real-time data that is collected and analyzed for more informed decisions, cost rationalization, and streamlined regulatory compliance.

Sensors

IoT applications in connected agriculture employ a multitude of sensors for gathering data in real time. Farmers and agro-managers rely on connected sensors to analyze soil conditions, monitor the health of crops and livestock and effectively operate drones and agricultural vehicles often in remote areas without ready broadband access.

Innovations in sensor technology, including the integration of low-power, miniaturized and disposable tracking solutions combined with the power of 5G, promise greater opportunities for farmers to apply sensing technology to their unique environments. This technology will help them respond to changing environmental, staffing, regulatory and demand conditions, individually or combined.

Gateways

Gateways are hardware devices that enable the flow of data from one network to another. They are essential solution links to provide dependable access to sensor networks, cameras and actuators, critical to the smart farm environment. Poorly performing data routing can lead to adverse outcomes, particularly when it comes to livestock monitoring, irrigation controls and perimeter surveillance.

Many farms are also remote and rural, with operations dispersed across large distances and differing topographies. Connectivity needs can vary significantly. Innovations in gateway design, particularly the integration of higher industrial-grade key components like wireless communication modules and game-changing private LTE and private 5G technologies, help agricultural IoT integrators fully meet farmers’ needs to monitor operations under any circumstances.

Advances in IoT edge processing have made it possible for applications to run embedded in the devices rather than sending raw data through gateways. IoT edge processing allows device management and decision making to be organized at or near the end-points where the data is generated. Certain cellular modules in the LTE-M and Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) standards allow devices to connect to the mobile IoT network directly, with embedded processing and storage capacity to support agricultural applications requiring mobility right inside the module.

Modules

Adding cellular or Wi-Fi networking functionality to sensors and other field devices is a task best accomplished using modules. Because of radio frequency engineering complexities and strict regulatory compliance requirements, device designers and integrators for the agro-industry must rely on ready-to-use modules over a “chip-down” approach adequate for other functional blocks of the design. This approach to connectivity solutions offers multiple options and provides the best time-to-market and research and development ROI for agriculture IoT solution integrators to meet the sector’s needs.

Modules are the beating hearts of IoT devices, typically ranking in the top five highest cost components in the devices’ bill of materials. IoT modules for agricultural deployments should be high quality and ruggedized to be reliable and dependable even in the most extreme environmental conditions that can be encountered on the farm. Smart farming is a mission-critical solution area, and it is crucial to select a connected farming device module based on full lifecycle cost and ROI rather than purchase price.

IoT Applications for Agriculture

Farm productivity depends on keeping crops and livestock healthy around the clock. Agriculture IoT developers can help farmers monitor and maximize output with innovative solutions that lead to rich, actionable and data-driven insights.

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Remote Sensing

Stay abreast of conditions anywhere, anytime and across the entire farm with remote sensing technology and connected devices. Sensors generate real-time data that can be analyzed to evaluate current practices and make improvements for greater efficiency and effectiveness. Respond to inter- and intra-field variability, manage irrigation and monitor crops and livestock with confidence.

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Precision Farming

Fine-tune responsiveness to crop and livestock variabilities through real-time data gathering, robust analytics and connected devices. From soil conditions to livestock monitoring to water control, IoT agriculture solutions help farmers precisely understand the enterprise’s operations. Optimize your processes and put your data to work for sustainable growth and outcomes.

crops

UAV Crop and Livestock Monitoring

Oversee operations in any location using crewless aerial vehicles (UAVs) and optimize yields based on real-time monitoring and predictive data analytics. IoT devices support crop and livestock health through monitoring and alerts that allow farmers to act at the first sign of an issue and to adjust care based on changing needs.

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Asset Tracking

Promote improved livestock health and keep track of equipment through IoT-enabled tracking and monitoring solutions. Connected sensors in livestock wearables allow farmers to monitor vital signs, locations, reproductive cycles and more. Improve animal health and reduce waste for optimal yields.

Irrigation Management Solution

Smart Irrigation

Reduce water waste, keep crops healthy and improve yields through connected, sensor-based water monitoring and management. Sensor data and analytics help farmers manage irrigation in a way that keeps up with demand while conserving natural resources. Sustainable practices increase profitability and conserve water over time.

Watch how Clover Hydroponics maximizes growth capabilities with IoT

Telit IoT Connectivity

Get one-touch access to your global connectivity network with Telit IoT connectivity plans and management solutions. Telit’s IoT connectivity tools and resources rapidly and efficiently get your deployment to market, regardless of size, scale or stage. Get scalable IoT connectivity, global visibility and granular control down to the individual SIM. 

Making Smart Farming Smarter

Smart agriculture solutions help farmers improve yields by increasing productivity and operational efficiency across the agro-enterprise and under various conditions. Whether the business is a large agro-conglomerate or a small family farm, farmers are coming to understand the value agriculture IoT solutions can deliver to their business. Telit modules, software and data plans and subscriptions help agriculture IoT solution developers shorten and simplify the process of designing and integrating connected devices so that farmers can focus on their core business ― ensuring the world’s food supply.

1. Harriet Sumnall, “Agriculture’s Digital Transformation: AG-Tech and Farming,” April 8, 2019, ABI Research.